Football: Motherwell relish heights

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The Independent Online
MOTHERWELL, who spent most of last season battling for Premier Division survival, are currently enjoying a new role as surprise league leaders. They face promoted Raith Rovers today determined to prove that they are not just keeping the seat warm for one of the bigger clubs.

Their manager, Tommy McLean, who steered Motherwell to Scottish Cup success in 1991, insists that he has not waved a magic wand. 'We haven't made many changes in personnel, there's been no change in the pattern and no change in attitude,' he said. 'The difference between the start of this season and last is simple - availability of players.'

Dundee's French defender Lionel David misses the game against Hibernian after being taken to hospital on Thursday after swallowing his tongue during a practice match.

Rangers take on Kilmarnock at Ibrox without their defender John Brown, who will be out for a month because of a back operation. Dave McPherson, who missed the midweek win over Dunfermline, should be back.

The Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas picked up a hamstring injury in their 9-1 win over Arbroath and is doubtful for the clash with Partick Thistle.

Aberdeen are at home to St Johnstone, whose request to postpone the game was rejected by the Scottish League. Saints claim they have only nine fit players and player-manager John McClelland may be pressed into service.

Simon Stainrod has been appointed Dundee's director of football operations. His assistant, Jim Duffy, takes over as manager.

Rabbits are causing problems at Aberdeen. Safety modifications following the Taylor Report have allowed rabbits to get into Pittodrie to eat the pitch. The Dons groundsman, Jim Warrender, cleans up the rabbit droppings with a brush and shovel every day.